Employee Engagement Action Plan Ideas

Philip Cleave
February 9, 2022
Employee engagement in action with team bonding exercise

When it comes to business success your staff are one of your most crucial assets. Not only through the knowledge and ideas they bring, but in how well they carry out your day-to-day business operations across sales, support, marketing and product development.

When your employees are happy and committed, not only are your customers happier, but your productivity will be maximised too.

So, what does it take to keep staff like this?

In a nutshell employee engagement is the key, which we will go on to talk about next.

What is employee engagement?

Essentially employee engagement is all about the emotional commitment that an employee has to an organisation and its goals. It also refers to the work an organisation does in trying to establish the right conditions for staff to optimise their work efforts each day, fully commit to their organisation’s goals and values, and be motivated to contribute to that organisation’s success. The thinking here is that fully engaged staff are much more likely to be productive and higher performing.

Employee engagement needs to be based on trust, integrity, two-way commitment and communication between an organisation and its members. It’s an approach that should increase the chances of business success, improving employee experience and contributing to organisational and individual performance, productivity and well-being. It’s also something you should be able to measure, nurture and dramatically increase as a result.

Why create an employee engagement action plan?

While we’ve communicated the value of employee engagement, we cannot overstate the importance of having an action plan.

Essentially, with an employee engagement action plan you’re able to.

  • Identify, prioritise and talk through the key engagement drivers
  • Commit to those changes that will have greatest impact
  • Hold everyone accountable for the results of your employee engagement initiatives

Given that only around 30% of all staff are engaged in their work, it’s more important than ever to measure and improve engagement. It’s also crucial to demonstrate to your employees that your organisation is serious about their feedback and acting on it. Having a highly visible employee engagement plan is crucial to this process.

What to include in an action plan?

Traditionally after issuing staff with an employee engagement survey, the way many organisation’s dealt with that feedback, was simply to hand it over to managers with no clear way forward.

In contrast, with an effective employee engagement action plan in place, each manager should be given best practice guidance and recommended actions to focus on, to help drive improvement within their teams.

To be effective employee engagement action plans should look to include steps such as the following.

Frequent and consistent issuing of engagement surveys

In an ideal world, it would be simpler if the signs of disengagement were exactly the same in every employee. This would make it quicker and easier to identify and resolve.

Alternatively, you don’t want to wait until your employees broach their problems with you directly. Usually by this point most of them will be at the end of their tether and ready to leave, with many acting on this, no matter how much you try to change their mind.

The more effective way to handle this is to issue frequent and consistent employee engagement surveys, which will help you to pick up key any areas of discontent before they get to this point of no return.

Analyse your survey results

This is a key area in your action plan, with the feedback you’ve collected offering you a roadmap for moving forward.

As soon as your responses start coming in, study the feedback in detail, digging deep for any trends or correlations in the data. Make a note of scores you’ve used for any metrics.

Drilling down into the data in this way, can help you to uncover valuable insights that you might not pick up with a hastier review. And with a more granular evaluation, you’ll be able to see subtleties in categories where you have scored high.

Through the sophisticated dashboards that are available with our survey tools, you will be able to pick up these more intricate details.

Select your focus area

Once you’ve completed your survey analysis it’s time for your directors, senior managers and HR professionals to get to work on your initial employee engagement plans.

Through collaboration they should collectively be able to identify the chief touchpoints for improvement that will effect change across your organisation. Next, they need to look through your employees’ suggestions and filter out plans that you could feasibly implement.

Additional questions that could help identify areas for you to focus on include.

  • Are there any problems you could resolve with simple changes and minimal effort?
  • What key areas have the most significant impact on your employee engagement?
  • Do you know where your highest scoring areas are and how you can improve them even further?
  • What are your lowest scoring areas, and what would it take to fix them?

Create focus groups to devise solutions to issues

Your survey data can only take you so far with drawing up an effective employee engagement plan. The people that can really help you with this are your staff.

So, having identified your key areas of focus, it’s time to start looking at solutions.

It can help to create focus groups for every target area you have identified. Then within these groups, discuss any factors that could impact your score, looking at solutions and possible bottlenecks you need to address.

There are many benefits to be gained from working in such groups. Besides challenging assumptions, they also help pave the way in reframing challenges to newfound opportunities. A simple way to do this would be through posing questions similar to the following.

  • How and why do we struggle in this particular area?
  • What are some of the steps that this organisation can take to help this outcome?
  • In the ideal future, how could we have done this differently?

Define the actions you’ll take

Next you need to define the actions you need to take to carry out your employee engagement plan. It can help to outline these in a document covering.

  • Any actions and engagement activities you’re committed to
  • Which people are responsible for carrying out your action plan
  • Project deadlines
  • How you will measure the success of your plan

Communicate what you’ll be improving

Communication throughout is crucial. Not only does it ensure your engagement plan is not forgotten, but it also helps to keep staff engaged. However, be sure to remind teams of their accountabilities, while giving credit where it’s due and regular progress updates.

Remember, keeping your workplace informed of the progress you’ve made, will play a significant role in ensuring your action plan’s success.

Example employee engagement activities

When it comes to staff engagement and your employee engagement plan ideas, there’s a lot to consider if you’re to improve it and develop a more positive and supportive culture.

A good place to start is to ensure you’re really listening to your workforce. Whether that’s having an ‘always on’ channel available for employees to leave feedback or voice concerns, or regularly issuing them with an employee pulse survey to quickly check in on their mental health and general staff wellbeing. You also need to ensure that you’re engaging new staff as soon as they join, not just existing employees. It’s all about building a culture to support engagement.

To support this, it’s important that you’re carrying out a range of different types of employee engagement activities. This could include anything from more general employee engagement activities to more fun and innovative ideas to increase staff engagement.

When you’re working on employee engagement action plan examples, it’s always useful to have some suggestions to refer to help inspire you. That’s why we’ve outlined some suggested employee engagement activity ideas for you to think about below.

General employee engagement activities

Recognise actions that demonstrate core company values

Your core company values shouldn’t just be something outlined in your mission statement, but values that your staff embody in the course of their everyday work. It can therefore be very powerful and motivational to publicly recognise employees who model core principles and demonstrate them at work. Frequent recognition for embodying company values, helps reinforce behaviours you want to encourage and deepens the meaning of your organisation’s values.

Offer new recruits a company culture coach

Having outlined the importance of embracing company values, you might to consider assigning new employees with a buddy from another team or department to help show them the ropes.

Not only can this help new staff to learn about your company values, but it can also offer a chance for them to get to know co-workers outside of their immediate work group. This will also help to boost cross-team communications further down the road.

Consider regularly hosting an “Employee of the month” award

When it comes to great employees, we all have them, and they typically provide continually optimal performance.

Recognising hard work and achievement in the workplace, helps boost employee morale, encourage healthy competition and a positive atmosphere. With increased motivation, you also get better staff engagement, happiness and retention.

Subsequently, ‘Employee of the month’ awards are a great way to show your best employees that you see their hard work and appreciate the efforts they are putting in and thus one of the best employee engagement activities that you can invest in.

Fun employee engagement activities

Make space for socialising activities

More informal opportunities to interact with their colleagues can be hugely beneficial to staff motivation and engagement. Think about creating areas where employees can take a quick break and interact. A lunchroom, which besides couches and a coffee machine, includes a couple of leisure activities, which could be anything from a ping pong table to a pinball machine, can be great in helping employees to unwind and recharge.

Throw leaving parties for existing staff

This might seem a strange one at first, as turnover is not usually the easiest of areas for organisations to talk about.

However, celebrating a new opportunity for a departing employee in this way, could actually help to lift the mood of other staff, by giving them the chance to say their final goodbyes. It also shows remaining employees that their organisation does actually value all the hard work they put in.

Celebrate staff members birthdays

Many workplaces have a way of honouring their employees. So, consider making staff birthdays your own excuse for fun.

Besides gifting your staff, a gift card on their special day, you might want to lay on a few snacks and drinks for all employees to toast their birthday with them.

Innovative employee engagement activities

Celebrate your people not just their work

Your staff are much more than simply their accomplishments at work. Take every opportunity to celebrate your employees and teammates and their accomplishments outside of work. Bring cupcakes for an employee’s birthday. Showcase community awards they receive. Buy them a graduation present. Your employees are so much more than employees—and recognising that will go a long way.

Offer a ‘welcome to the company’ card/gift to new recruits

To really engage new hires to your business as soon as they join, think about presenting them with a welcome card, gift, or email.

However, it’s equally important to introduce them to the rest of their team. So, make sure you do this as soon as you can.

Consider running some bring your pets to work days

This might sound a little far-fetched, but research has revealed that 72% of Brits think their stress levels would improve with animals in the workplace. The same research demonstrated significant differences in perceived stress between the days when a dog was present and absent. In fact, it also indicated that the simple act of stroking a pet can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Such benefits have not gone unnoticed, so much so that there is now an official bring your dog to work day.

Benefits of employee engagement activities

When your staff are truly engaged, your teams go from being good to great, challenges turn into opportunities and your people give their all for your business.

It’s why managers are often told that they need to work on employee engagement. However, the concept of engagement is sometimes hard to visualise in the real-life workplace.

So, to help you understand what employee engagement really looks like here are five key benefits that it brings.

Improved team performance

Employee engagement benefits the wider team, not just the individual employee. This is because engaged employees perform at a higher level. So, when a group of engaged employees work together, the whole team performs at a much higher level.

Good employee morale is contagious. When team members are surrounded by motivated and driven peers who care about what they do, they’re more likely to feel engaged in their own role.

Increased staff productivity

Typically, highly engaged employees will be more efficient, delivering higher-quality work. This is because they’re personally invested in their job, and their performance matters to them. They’re also more likely to be fully aligned with your team and business goals.

Improved employee retention and reduced churn

If you’re to build a high-performing team, it’s crucial to hold onto your staff. It’s difficult for teams to deliver their best work if employees are constantly cycling in and out. This is because long-standing employees take valuable knowledge and expertise with them when they leave. In contrast, training new hires requires a significant amount of investment of time, energy and resources.

However, when an employee is fully engaged, satisfied and committed, they are less likely to leave. Engaged employees make your teams stronger, more experienced and better equipped to hit your targets.

Achieving team objectives

Staff engagement also plays a huge role in your team’s success and achievements. When you’re a manager, it’s natural to focus your attention on your team’s goals. However, when you shift your focus towards engaging your employees, this will have a direct and positive impact on your objectives.

The reason for this is that engaged team members are more likely to believe in your vision, align with your strategy and work hard to get you there.

Reduced absenteeism

The final way engaged employees can benefit an organisation by reducing absenteeism, which has traditionally been a drain on the resources of many businesses.

While disengaged staff are more likely to be absent and not fully present even when they do show up, absenteeism is hardly an issue with engaged employees, who are always fully committed when they’re working.

When your team show up every day engaged, excited and ready to work, it’s easier to innovate, hit goals and perform at the highest level.

Measuring engagement strategy success

All these benefits are inspiring to think about when you’re putting together your employee engagement activities plan. But you still need a more concrete way of measuring the success of your engagement strategy and activities if your business is to keep moving forward in the right direction.

A good way of measuring your engagement strategy’s success is to survey your staff with an eNPS survey. An employee net promoter score (eNPS) survey, measures staff happiness and their willingness to recommend others to work for your organisation (see our eNPS calculator for an example of how this is calculated). So, by measuring this before initiating your engagement activities, then again after they’ve been up and running for a while, you’ll get a better sense of how successful your strategy’s been.

Ultimately, research has proved that when staff are engaged, they’re happier and more productive. So, as long as you’re able to get the right engagement action plan and activities in place. And you’re able to prove it with these types of performance metrics. You will be right on track to achieve your business objectives.


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